A 3,000-year-old temple is located in the village of Chatti Getty, about 15km from the city of Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There are no Hindus in this village but local Muslims also guard this temple.
Muslims have no problem
Ali Ahmad Khan and his wife Noorin Khan, who live near the temple, told us that locals have no problem with the temple or Hindu worship, but Hindus from all over the world, including other cities in Pakistan, come here for worship. “We are proud that the people of our region are playing a role in the protection of Hindu religious places of worship beyond religious anarchy and caste,” he added. The government has been asked to provide gas to the area so that Hindu visitors do not face any difficulties during the cold season. “Fortunately, Muslims also collect donations for the maintenance of the temple,” he said. And offer their services in other ways. ”
The temple building has two floors. The ground floor is basically closed while there is a hall on the upper floor and there is a carved white shaving stone, which is called Hindu Lingam. Posters of other Hindu deities including Ganesh, Shiva, Nandi and various idols hang on the wall but Shiv Lingam is present in the glass room in the middle of the hall.
According to archeological research, the Shiva stone inside the temple is very ancient. The temple was restored as a shrine by the Raja of Jammu in the 1830s. It is said that after the partition of India, some people took over the temple, after which the temple was sealed. Until 1998, Hindus did not have access to the temple. In the same year, the Hindus recaptured the temple.
Supervisor Darshan Lal
“The role of the local people in the restoration of the temple has been very positive,” Darshan Lal, who oversees the Shiv Mandir’s administration, told us that being a Hindu has never hurt a Muslim brother. There is also a Pandit J. Prakash in the temple but ten to fifteen Pandits are present here on the occasion of festivals. Describing the history of the temple, Darshan Lal said that the Shiv Lingam in the temple is thousands of years old and still exists in its present condition. The attack was carried out, the traces of which are still present on the lingam, but no untoward incident has taken place since then. ”
Thanking Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that the present PTI government has paid special attention to providing rights to minorities. According to him, “Just as we follow our religion freely in Pakistan, so should Muslims in India. Only by respecting the religion of others and protecting one’s life and property can a good society survive. Spreading religious animosity breeds hatred. ”
For many years, the temple remained in a state of disrepair. In 2016, Hazara University students reportedly launched a project to restore the Shiv Mandir. Restoration work was carried out in collaboration with Pakistan Youth Change Advocates, Directorate of Archeology, Museums and the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. On this occasion, the building was renovated and cleaned and paintings, dustbins and lights were installed. Launched under the auspices of the government, the project aims to ensure that pilgrims from within and outside the country do not face difficulties in performing rituals, fostering a sense of peace and tolerance in the region and internationally. Also have a positive impression about the country.
An official from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police is on duty at all times to protect the temple. Constable Zahid told us that special permission has to be obtained from DPO Mansehra to visit the temple. “Students of Hazara University also seek permission for research. Locals are also not allowed to enter the temple freely. ”The number of security personnel is increased as needed during the festival. Zahid added that Hindus from other parts of the country come exclusively for worship on Sundays, so no one other than Hindus is allowed to visit the temple on Sundays.
If you look at the area around the temple, it is between the temples and the flowing rivers. This 3,000-year-old temple is very sacred to Hindus and that is why an annual festival is organized every year in the months of February and Sawan, in which many Hindu pilgrims from Pakistan and abroad come for worship.
Cave of water fountain
Darshan Lal told about the water cave (cave) attached to the temple that when the lingam was attacked, the snake deities appeared from the cave to protect the lingam and to this day the snake deities protect the temple at night. He said that natural water comes from the earth in this cave which is about 300 meters away from the temple in which the snake deities live.
Muhammad Nawaz, a local resident, said he had heard of the human-shaped snake from the elders but had never seen it. The water of the cave spring is clear, which is also used to treat skin diseases and digestion. Hindus come here for worship, perform the ritual of keeping milk for the snake god and consider the water of the cave to be very sacred while the Muslims use this water for drinking.
According to Darshan Lal, 172 kanals of the temple land have been taken over due to lack of maintenance, while 26 kanals have been leased to the locals by the endowment department. Only 8 kanals of land adjacent to the temple have survived the construction, the return of which is pending.